The Edwards Agency

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The Nov. 5 ballot: 1st Legislative District, Rep. Position One

1st Legislative District Democrat Al O'Brien and Republican Tim Olsen are facing off for the 1st District House seat being vacated by Ian Elliot, who is running for the state Senate.

Al O'Brien

Age: 52.
Party: Democrat.
Occupation: Retired police sergeant, adjunct college faculty member.
Family: Two sons, ages 25, 21.

   Serving his second term on the Mountlake Terrace City Council, Al O'Brien has a number of high priorities and supports finding a stable funding source for basic education and more space for students entering higher education.
   He believes in programs serving the elderly and disabled, job training, and childcare for those who must get off welfare because of legislation. He supports youth programs and a good, accessible healthcare program for the state which does not unfairly burden business.
   "We should look at funding for basic education and higher education as investments in our future, not as burdensome costs," O'Brien said. "If Washington State is going to continue to be a leader in the future, we must have an educational system that is second to none."
   O'Brien says half of those required to get off welfare are single women with children, and training is needed to keep them employed. "We must give them the training they need to become self-sufficient, and provide for child care for them so they can take advantage of the training programs offered."
   O'Brien has a B.A. in sociology and M.A. in public administration from Seattle University. He served as a U.S. Marine infantryman in Vietnam.
   O'Brien was with the Seattle Police Department for 29 years, has been an adjunct faculty member at City University for nine years, and has lived in the district for 25 years.

Tim Olsen

Age: 31.
Party: Republican.
Occupation: Heating contractor.
Family: Wife, Cindy.

   Tim Olsen has been active in the First District as the platform committee chair, and he was Rep. Mike Sherstad's campaign manager in 1994. His priorities include keeping the budget within the I-601 spending limits; working to reform the welfare system and DSHS; and introducing performance audits. Olsen also supports bringing back "parental and local control of the education system."
   "I support the concept of charter schools and vouchers," Olsen said, indicating that he will probably vote for the two initiatives appearing on the ballot. "I think we need to allow choices in education like that."
   Olsen said that the initiatives represent a good short-term fix and provide a good start towards a long-term solution.
   He said he believes the Growth Management Act needs to be rewritten to bring control back to the local level. "I do not support this act because it has non-elected officials making decisions on private property issues," he said.
   In response to the voter-approved I-601, limiting state spending, Olsen plans to work to keep the budget within the parameters.
   "I believe that through efficient and accountable government, this can be accomplished. Breaking up the Department of Social and Health Services and implementing performance audits will help reduce the expense or our welfare system," he said.
   Olsen has lived in the area for 29 years.